'90s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish are back

Jon Bream, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Entertainment News

Sonefeld became a born-again Christian and made religious records. Bassist Dean Felber entered the wine business and became a single parent when his ex-wife died. Guitarist Mark Bryan taught classes about the music biz at the College of Charleston.

Rucker headed to Nashville in 2008 after failing to make much noise with an R&B solo album. Since then, he's had consistent triumphs, scoring eight No. 1 country songs, including his debut single "Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

He was surprised by his country success. "I'm still surprised," the molasses-voiced singer admitted.

His biggest hit is 2013's "Wagon Wheel," which features a Bob Dylan chorus and melody from 1973 and verses that Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show penned 25 years later. Rucker recorded it with Lady Antebellum singing background vocals.

"I haven't heard from Dylan," Rucker said. "We could have coffee or something when I get to Minnesota." He chuckled for a while.

He did hear from Dylan's people a few years earlier because Hootie's 1995 hit "Only Wanna Be With You" quoted a verse from Dylan's 1975 tune "Idiot Wind." They reached an after-the-fact settlement, with Dylan collecting a chunk of change.


Despite the hubbub over Hootie's return, Rucker's priority is Nashville.

"Country is what I'm going to do every day," he said, mentioning he'll record a solo album after the Hootie tour ends in October. "We're not going to do this (Hootie) every year."

Rucker didn't have many details about the new Hootie album except it's called "Imperfect Circle" and due Nov. 1. He co-wrote one song with Ed Sheeran, but it may not make the album.

Even though the band aimed for something a little different, Rucker said, "Everything we do, whether we do reggae or whatever, we end up sounding like Hootie and the Blowfish."


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